Friday, January 15, 2010

My Journey: Part Two by Maureen Lang

This Fortifying Friday, please welcome Maureen Lang as she continues her series. We've appreciated her transparency and wisdom!

My Journey: Part Two
by Maureen Lang

Last week, I talked about my journey to writing secular historical romances. Shortly after that, a few of the choices I’d made resulted in some painful consequences. My marriage ended; I became a single parent. Maybe it’s common for people who have a “start over” moment to reevaluate everything, and that’s what I did. It was then God really claimed my heart, and I knew I wouldn’t leave God out of anything.

I withdrew my fourth secular romance from my agent, then made a brief attempt to rework one of my stories for a Christian audience. But life was too busy to devote myself fully to writing. As it turns out God didn’t lead me back to writing for about fifteen years. During that time I didn’t read as much as I used to, but occasionally I came across an idea I thought I’d write about “someday.”

One idea was about a secret newspaper being produced in Belgium during the German occupation of the First World War. When I finally sat down to write again, in three months I wrote a manuscript one-hundred-fifty-thousand-words long. Whew! It was fun. But unwieldy. Wordy, to say the least. I did propose it to a few publishers, but I’m sure the size alone played a part in its rejection.

One thing was obvious: God was nudging me to write again. I rejoined RWA, then joined American Christian Fiction Writers. I knew I needed not only writers around me this time, but Christian writers. People who understood the spiritual element in life and writing.

This time while writing, I felt God’s pleasure—seeing me want to honor Him. I sensed His sympathy when I went through the first rounds of rejection in this market, heard Him tell me it wasn’t yet my time. I needed to trust Him a little longer, keep on writing, keep on wanting to honor Him. Eventually I knew that even if I were only writing for the two of us, I’d still be writing—so why give up trying to reach a wider audience?

After over three years of studying the market (much of which I still do!), submitting, attending writer’s conferences, honing skills through critique groups, my first Inspirational was contracted in 2004 and released in 2006. I’ve learned how important it is to trust God’s hand, in life and in my writing. Writing for the Christian market is the most rewarding kind of writing, knowing spiritual elements can remind us of eternal implications, from the choices and decisions we make to the people we surround ourselves with.

Oh, and about that one-hundred-fifty-thousand-word novel I wrote? I’m happy to report it will be published by Tyndale House as Book Two in my Great War Series, to release June, of 2010, under the title Whisper on the Wind. Little did I know the plans God had for this story. Not my timing, but His. I’m thrilled with the trimming and polishing this story needed. So hang in there! Some projects may see the widest audience farther down the road than you think, so it’s important not to give up.

Look to the East released in August, 2009. Here is the summary:

At the dawn of the First World War, the French provincial village of Briecourt is isolated from the battles, but the century-old feud between the Toussaints and the de Colvilles still rages in the streets. When the German army sweeps in to occupy the town, families on both sides of the feud must work together to protect stragglers caught behind enemy lines. Julitte Toussaint may have been adopted from a faraway island, but she feels the scorn of the de Colvilles as much as anyone born a Toussaint. So when she falls in love with one of the stragglers-a wealthy and handsome Belgian entrepreneur-she knows she's playing with fire. Charles Lassone hides in the cellar of the Briecourt church, safe from the Germans for the moment. But if he's discovered, it will bring danger to the entire village and could cost Charles his life. First in a three-book series.

Maureen Lang grew up as one of the youngest in a six-kid, boisterously loud German-Irish family in the suburbs of Chicago. She started out writing for the secular market and now writes for the Christian marketplace. To learn more, see her Web site.